We’ve got a packed show for you today, including WWE changing their commentary teams, 205 Live potentially merging with NXT, and the huge rumor that IMPACT Wrestling is trying to buy Ring of Honor.
Click the timestamps in the video description below to jump to any of those stories right now!
And answer our question of the day in the comments down below: How can IMPACT and ROH compete in the wrestling war? Because I’ll be answering comments FROM OUTTA NOWHERE… saying with Mega-Ran. It went down so well in Madison Square Garden.
Our WrestleTalk Magazine will be out in shops all across the UK for the first time ever next Thursday, 19th September – which is just 7 days away!
And I’m very honoured to reveal the front cover of this historic issue right here on the WrestleTalk YouTube channel – cheap pop for that in the comments – so crack open a little bit of the bubbly, because Le Champion himself, AEW World title holder Chris Jericho is our cover star!
We’ll be counting down the days until the magazine hits shops next week on the WrestleTalk News, but in the meantime, don’t forget our special offer to buy all ten issues of the WrestleTalk Magazine so far for just £15 plus postage and packaging using the link in the video description below!
By buying the issue you’re not only supporting WrestleTalk, but you’re also the very concept of physical wrestling magazines and independent business.
Which can be a tough option to choose when the larger companies sell such high quality merchandise like…
…a WWE-branded slow cooker.
Because what do you get the WWE fan who’s got everything? Yes, even Neville’s last t-shirt before walking out the promotion? That’s right, a WWE Championship Slow Cooker, inexplicably brand new to WWE Shop now!
The WWE Championship slow cooker, with its 7-quart capacity, non-skid rubber feet and completely unnecessary prints of current WWE title designs, is the perfect addition to any adult male’s kitchen. What better way to make use of WWE’s 6 hour plus pay-per-views, than to also make a stew, chili or casserole!
Add to bag. Quantity… 9.
As we’ve seen with Double or Nothing and All Out so far, though, AEW pay-per-views are just as needlessly long. So crack open a bottle of J.R.’s original Bar-B-Q sauce and tip that in the cooker too. Because now it seems J.R.’s TV commentary partner has been revealed…
In the latest episode of AEW’s Road to…[insert next big event here] series, former WCW announcer Tony Schiavone sat down with the promotion’s co-executive vice president Cody Rhodes build his match against Sammy Guevara for the debut TV episode on TNT. But then at the end, Rhodes turned the questions around on Schiavone…
“Obviously the question for you though, you know, you were there for all this, and you have this history. Will you be returning to the desk, and will you be calling matches with Jim Ross?
I don’t know, you’re the boss. You are, you tell me.
You see me wink?”
Schiavone and JR teaming up for AEW’s weekly TV show when it launches next month has been speculated on ever since Tony signed with the promotion, and it’s a smart way to bring back the lapsed WCW fans with the two’s professional and familiar voices.
And AEW aren’t the only ones lining up brand new commentary teams..
With NXT going live on the USA Network from next Wednesday – which is totally not a move against AEW – and SmackDown moving to Friday nights on Fox in October, WWE have already shaken up the backstage creative teams, and now it’s being reported the commentary line-ups are changing in preparation for the moves too, according to the very reliable WrestleVotes…
“Hearing that significant changes are coming to the commentary teams once the SD to FOX move happens in a few weeks. All shows will be impacted, including RAW. A source has said the return of the 2 man booth is coming.”
“The plans as of now for the new announce teams include Michael Cole heading to SmackDown on FOX. I’m also told Vic Joseph is set to become the lead man on Monday Night RAW. Not set in stone, as nothing is with WWE, but this is their working idea.”
It was also announced on this week’s 205 Live that Nigel McGuiness will no longer provide commentary for that show, as he’ll be focusing on NXT’s new weekly live, two hour broadcasts – and he’ll be replaced by former NFL player Brennan Williams, who goes by Dio Maddin in WWE. And there are also reports that Fox want Renee Young exclusively on the weekly WWE studio show on FS1.
To potentially fill some of the announcing and backstage interviewer gaps, McKenzie Mitchell, a former backstage interviewer for IMPACT Wrestling, and former House of Hardcore lead announcer Matt Camp, both revealed on Twitter that they’ve signed with WWE.
But the commentary isn’t the only thing potentially changing in WWE, as Triple H seems to be expanding his own territory with the Triple H Expanded Universe!
In an interview with Newsweek ahead of NXT moving to the USA Network, Hunter spoke about how Raw and SmackDown are going to become more distinct brands as they split from each other to different networks, but NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live will all form one larger super promotion, aka, The Triple H Expanded Universe.
“NXT UK will sit under that NXT banner as well, probably 205 too breathing some life into it a little bit… I think [205 Live] always existed as an island onto itself, a little bit, and it’s become lost in this limbo. You’ll begin to see it move more towards the NXT banner and the talent there. We have a lot of talent. For them to begin to compete either open against anyone or in the cruiserweight division, but have that title sit under the NXT brand is more meaningful.”
And with NXT going two hours every week, it seems Triple H is keen to bring in more than just the Cruiserweight championship onto NXT TV.
PWInsider is reporting that NXT UK wrestlers Pete Dunne and Toni Storm will become main NXT brand stars from now on, especially with Dunne currently in the process of moving to the US full-time.
And with all those extra titles, weekly TV time and wrestlers, it seems Triple H is also planning on increasing the amount of annual TakeOvers:
“This past year we had five Takeovers with the brand here and two in the U.K. I think you might see that go up to six in the U.S. and we’ll continue to monitor the U.K. to see what we can add there.”
But with WWE moving their chess pieces into order with Raw, SmackDown, and the Triple H Expanded Universe, and AEW on the opposite side full gearing up for weekly television – pun intended – an old player has just rejoined the board. THAT’S NOT HOW CHESS WORKS, THERE’S TOO MANY SIDES NOW.
With so much focus on WWE and AEW through 2019, IMPACT Wrestling and their parent company Anthem Sports & Entertainment appear to have been making some significant moves behind-the-scenes. And it might just culminate in one of the biggest industry moves of the year.
Earlier this week, Anthem announced they had acquired a majority interest in HDNet LLC, which owns AXS TV and HDNet Movies, stating Anthem “will assume operating management of the two popular channels… [that] includes AXS TV’s extensive library of owned programming, including wrestling, MMA and entertainment content.” A library that includes Ring of Honor’s weekly TV archive from their HDNet shows between 2009 and 2011.
The plot thickens when you look at what other promotions currently air on AXS – Women of Wrestling, a GLOW-like promotion which is pretty much built around top IMPACT wrestler Tessa Blanchard, and New Japan Pro Wrestling.
A link already exists between New Japan and IMPACT, with IMPACT’s executive vice president Don Callis being an occasional commentator for big New Japan shows. There have been talks of working between the two dating back to early 2018, after Callis put together the Kenny Omega vs Chris Jericho match at WrestleKingdom.
But New Japan already has a working relationship with another US wrestling promotion, Ring of Honor, putting on a joint Madison Square Garden show over WrestleMania weekend this year. How to get round that, you might ask? Well, according to one rumoured insider on Reddit, just buy Ring of Honor too.
KingofGeorgia95, who has a decent track record of behind-the-scenes IMPACT scoops, has resurfaced on Reddit for the first time in almost a year, with some added details about the AXS deal. They write “Anthem has planned this for awhile and was finally able to pull it off… Impact will air on AXS but the date is still not set, I would say it’ll happen in October though.”
This would be an incredibly positive move for IMPACT, as their viewership has heavily declined over the last year on the Pursuit channel. But KingOfGeorgia95 adds that relationship will be maintained, with IMPACT makinga new studio-based wrestling show for Pursuit to present new wrestlers that’ll eventually be called up to the main roster. So IMPACT’s NXT then.
And the insider claims Anthem’s ambitions go far beyond just a developmental promotion…
“The talks are in the very beginning stage but Sinclair [Ring of Honor’s parent company] is listening and seems interested. If this was to go through I’d expect Anthem to fold ROH completely and place the entire library on the Impact Plus app. Another thing that has been thrown around would be a Split type situation where Impact and ROH are the same company but ROH will be placed on either AXS or Pursuit (more than likely AXS) as its own show and have Impact guys appear on and off.”
While this is a very juicy piece of news, and the source does have a decent track record, it’s important to take this with a pinch of salt, as it’s just an early stage rumor for now, but it does fit in with Anthem president Leonard Asher’s larger pla, as he told Multi-Channel News about the AXS deal this week:
“We believe owning the content and putting it on our channels, but also having it on other people’s platforms as well. I call that untethered vertical integration.”
‘Untethered vertical integration’, name of your sex tape.
It’s a very interesting turn of events from just three years ago, when IMPACT, then called TNA, was close to folding all together at the end of the disastrous Dixie Carter regime. Back then, Ring of Honor owners Sinclair Broadcasting, who are bigger than WWE financially, were reportedly interested in buying TNA – but Anthem eventually secured the deal.
Watch mine and Luke’s review of the new Brad Pitt space movie Ad Astra! Where we have a conspiracy theory about Disney potentially re-editing the final cut! And Laurie also puts Chopper Pete in a ‘spaceship simulator’. And is Kevin Owens going to NXT? Click on the video on the right to find out. I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.